News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 11, 2013

Veterans clinic celebrates ‘reopening’

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A community-based outpatient veterans clinic will remain in Terre Haute under a new contract and provider.

Humana Government Business on Dec. 31 acquired Ambulatory Care Solutions, said Brad Jones, Humana marketing executive director. Although services were not interrupted, Humana held a “reopening” ceremony Monday at the Veterans Administration Community-Based Outpatient Clinic at 110 W. Honey Creek Parkway.

Jones said ACS has expertise in operating veterans clinics, while Humana “brings a lot of bench strength, in areas like [staff] recruiting, information technology and facilities. We bring a lot of support infrastructure to hopefully make it even easier to do the great job that they do.”

The clinic serves about 4,200 veterans annually in the Wabash Valley.

“In addition to the primary medical care that we provide, we also have X-ray on site, we also do lab draws on site which are transferred to Richard L. Roudebush [Veterans Administration Medical Center] in Indianapolis,” said John Ernest, who was the president/CEO of ACS and is now strategic executive for Humana Government Business.

“We also have tele-retinal exams on site which are transmitted to Indianapolis where they are read and we have tele-derm on site, for any skin wounds. They are photographed and sent on to Indianapolis. We will be expanding into more tele-health care, which may include interviews with patients by people in Indianapolis,” Ernest said.

Tom Mattice, medical center director of the Roudebush VA center, said Terre Haute’s satellite site has been in the city for about 10 years and has been operated by ACS the past five years.

“There have been renovations [in the clinic] and the [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] contract has been extended, so we rededicating the site to memorialize the continuing presence of the staff to continue to work with patients here,” Mattice said.

“Veterans should not notice any changes,” Mattice said. “The staff here is very dedicated to what they do and understand veterans causes, and veterans –issues and health care issues, so they are very much in tune to what the patients here will be needing.”

Mike Holland, Clay County Veterans Service Officer, said the Terre Haute site is ideal as veterans, particularly those of World War II and the Korean War who “do not like to travel too far and they come here and can be back home in a couple hours, whereas traveling to Indianapolis can be an all-day affair.” Holland added that about 2,500 veterans are served from Clay County.

Kevin Hinton, Sullivan County Veterans Service Officer, said 2,253 veterans are served through the Terre Haute VA site. “As long as they provided the same quality of care, we will be good to go,” Hinton said of the transition in ownership at the clinic.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.